Potheads, is it OK for a little sunbathing?

funnthsun z7A - Southern VAMarch 31, 2014

Quick question - is it OK/advantageous to sit my pots that haven't yet emerged or are just now emerging in the sun for a little boost or do you think the tender new flesh would burn? Wouldn't think the sun this time of year would be that harsh, but wanted to doublecheck before I did it. Do you bring yours out and straight in the shade or do they spend any time in the sun at first? I know this sounds like a no brainer, hostas want mostly shade, but I know there are some sunlovers among them and with them just emerging????? Maybe?????? Just curious...

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bkay2000(8a TX)

All of mine are in full sun until the middle or end of April. All of my shade is from Pecan Trees, and they don't leaf out early. I have left them in the sun until the first of June on the deck without any seeming problem.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 4:59PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

black pots in sun means warmer media ...

which means they will start growing faster ... its all about soil temps ...

BUT!!! .... and there always seems to be a big but around ...

if you do it.. you are not allowed to come back and tell us you bolted your plants.. and now they have frost or freeze damage .. [like bkay already did quite a while back for her zone]

soooo.. sure go ahead ... what can happen... just some major damage ... throw them on the driveway ... preferably blacktop.. so they will heat even faster ... but they wont die from a little frost/freeze ..

be very careful to note.. zone of any answers ... and try to compare such to your location ... including mountains.. etc ... NC can be a little tricky ...

now... if you had a kiddie wagon.. and could pull them into the garage at night ... then go for it ...

its really hard for us to tell you how it will all workout in your little microclimate ... but what is learned when we dont experiment ...


ps: i am still at 30% snow cover on the 5 acres ... rrrrrrrr

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 5:08PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

BKAY DID NOT BOLT HER PLANTS. I did not uncover them and I didn't move them to the sunshine. In fact, I moved many to the shade. It's the downside and upside of pots. They get colder in the winter and they warm up quicker when it's warm. We just happened to have a 16 degree morning after the fragrants started up, which we very rarely have - even in January - and this was March.

It's was a very cold winter for us. It also lasted longer than usual.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 5:26PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

sorry bkay ..

i meant you complained.. and rightly so.. about frost damage ... [and dont get me wrong... that is what the forum is for]

i did not mean you caused it in any way ...

again .. sorry...

i think its part of your whole zone pushing ... and none of us have real hands on experience ... and you are mastering it ... never forget.. no matter how in artful i might be with my words.. i am impressed at what you are doing .... and how well you are doing it ...


    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 6:28PM
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mikgag Z5b NS Canada

heh heh...Ken said "big but"

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 7:17PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

It's just the nature of the beast. Potted plants have their upsides and downsides.

Ken, I thought about telling you to put a sock in it, but was afraid someone might think I was being ugly instead of funny, so I skipped it. I apologize. I meant to be playful. Sorry it came off the wrong way.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 8:14PM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

Well,as an NCer,at this time of year here,although my plants aren't in pots,they are in full sun until the trees leaf out,and they always do well,especially if they have been established for awhile in the garden. That's my take on the subject. Phil

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 8:52PM
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zkathy(7a NC)

I don't have a garage, so I've just been hauling QOTS and Thunderbolt inside in their pots every night it might freeze. Last night I covered 6 in the ground with boxes. If it freezes next week, maybe I'll have to cover twenty. It's almost like gardening!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 10:16PM
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gardens1(5b ON)

My pots I site in our old bunker (pit silo), on the south side of a concrete wall that is a good 8' high. I put them there in the fall when I'm tidying up for winter and getting everything put away. There are deciduous trees on the south side of the bunker, so in winter, they get light shade from the branches from about 10 or 11 am til maybe 3. However, as they weather warms, the amount of sun increases. Some extra pots have been in there since December 2012! These included El Nino, Frances Williams, Guardian Angel, and others. While the leaves did bleach, it did not hurt them, but I am in Ontario, towards Georgian Bay.
Ken, it was too nice out today to growl!! (laugh) We always here how cold and windswept you are in Michigan, but if you've only got 30% snow cover left, you are well ahead of us, my friend! I am ecstatic, and we have maybe 10% bare ground and 90% snow cover! But, at least it is feeling like spring. Another sure sign? The Co-op has skids upon skids of fertilizer in. Somehow I don't think any farmers are going to be able to get on their land to make use of it in the next week or two, though!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 11:02PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Boy, I didn't read it as "ugly", but fun. Anyone who puts up with a dog who destroys her hostas, then gets another dog too, has got to be unstable to me. ;-) We are both pushing hosta temp limits, so I consider BK a sister. There are so few of us.

As a "Pothead" I certainly do put them out where they will get the most Eastern sun as possible once I see their little noses. (eyes). But out here, we don't get frosts after March 15th (average), so I don't have to move my pots around much. Good thing, as my old back wouldn't co-operate.


zkathy- please put in your zone so it shows up when you post. (7b NC)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 11:08PM
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Babka, BKay, Mocc & Paula: GROWING WHERE NO HOSTAS HAVE BEEN GROWN BEFORE! (Well, where hostas haven't been grown all that much, or very WELL, anyway) : )

Cheers to you ladies,
Don B.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 11:49PM
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newhostalady Z6 ON, Canada

I store my pots in the garage, a window well and some are buried in the soil. As they begin to grow, I will try to put as many as I can on a table as the squirrels tend to dig the pots in the early spring. If temperatures dip, I bring them back to the garage or cover them up. Most of my hostas grow under maple trees, so as soon as the trees leaf out, my hostas are in the shade. I have not had a problem allowing the pots to be in full sun in the early spring. Only one hosta (Brim Cup) was quite ragged and ugly last year, and that hosta will be the only one I will not put out there in full sun this spring. After a couple of years of having a lovely Brim Cup, I felt that the sun made it grow too quickly and had contributed to its ragged edges. I also had not repotted it for two years. So we'll see what happens this year. It is known to be a difficult hosta though.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 12:14AM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Newhostalady- Don't blame yourself for your problems with Brim Cup. It is one of those hostas that is susceptible to "drawstring" problems on the edges.


Here is a link that might be useful: Don Rawson's Drawstring List

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 12:42PM
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newhostalady Z6 ON, Canada

Thanks Babka. I knew of Don Rawson's lists, but I didn't know there was a drawstring list! It is said there that "For best results, locate these cultivars in an area with minimal direct sunlight. The first flush of leaves can also be removed" . . . hmmm interesting. I'll see what I can do this year. Brim Cup will be challenging as it not only has the tendency to drawstring, but is also on Don's Difficult-to-Grow list. Oh dear!

And getting back to whether it is OK to put pots in the sun in spring . . . I would be more concerned with how much sun the blue hostas get and for how many weeks. And, of course, you need to keep in mind the zone you are in. I'm in Canada, so my sun will not be as intense as yours.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 2:26PM
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ZKathy, you are such a good little hostamommy, dragging your precious QOTS in and out like that. I hope she grows up to make you proud!

Yep, BKay is not that much different zone wise from the NC. Don't know if she has any mountains or not, which can affect things somewhat. Like elevation and shade patterns.

But basically, I have the same kind of shade as BKay, mostly pecan trees, which leaf out in late May sometimes June it seems. Little tiny spring green, the last to emerge on our trees here, since right now my Japanese maples are in various stages of unfurling. My figs, the peach, are coming on strong....even the pomegranates are in BLOOM. Heck, this weekend I saw pear trees in full bloom in Arkansas. (I made a quick drive up to Iowa and just returned.)

While I was gone, just 3 full days, my Sagae has unfurled and is beginning to look like he is ready to come down off the porch and play with the big dogs. I mean, I might actually have some MATURING HOSTA IN MY GARDEN!!!!!
This is going to be an exciting year.

Sunbathing is the question though. Like BKay says, until the end of April mine get mostly sun. But I'm saying they are naturally emerging on their own, I have not aided that if I could help it. It is going to be a looooonnnng year for them.

My new nursery pots are black. They get very hot, even this early in the growing season. Where I have a hosta exposed to more sun and growing in a nursery pot, I also try to hide the pot in tall liriope or monkey grass. Wish they made WHITE nursery pots, the heat reflects instead of absorbs.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 10:09PM
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